News blog

Nuclear commission eyes new path on waste as legal battle resumes over Yucca Mountain

Yucca_Mountain.wikipedia.jpgThe White House’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future released its interim report on Friday, calling for the establishment of a new public process – as well as a new independent organization with access to truly dedicated funding – to identify a long-term solution for nuclear waste disposal (Washington Post).

The administration of Barack Obama created the commission after announcing its plans to shut down the long-troubled repository beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada (pictured at right). Members plan to issue a final report in January, which the administration would presumably consult as it develops a legislative proposal for Congress, but the path forward is far from clear.

Hours after the commission released its draft, the states of Washington and South Carolina filed their second lawsuit challenging the Energy Department’s authority to close down Yucca Mountain – authority that an internal board at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shot down in a ruling last year. For more on all of this, see our earlier coverage here and here.

More on that in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, following is a list of the Blue Ribbon Commission’s seven core recommendations, in the commission’s own words:

1. A new, consent-based approach to siting future nuclear waste management facilities.

2. A new organization dedicated solely to implementing the waste management program and empowered with the authority and resources to succeed.

3. Access to the funds nuclear utility ratepayers are providing for the purpose of nuclear waste management.

4. Prompt efforts to develop one or more geologic disposal facilities.

5. Prompt efforts to develop one or more consolidated interim storage facilities.

6. Support for continued U.S. innovation in nuclear energy technology and for workforce development.

7. Active U.S. leadership in international efforts to address safety, waste management, nonproliferation, and security concerns.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


  1. Report this comment

    shawn disney said:

    Why are they even talking about this? Haven’t they heard about the OTHER type of nuclear fission plant that “burns” LWR (existing)plants’ waste as fuel, largely destroying it? The only reason the Thorium Liquid Fueled reactors (LFTR) were abandoned after being developed was that they did not make bomb material, 50 years ago. We really do not need more bombs now, since we already have enough to destroy the whole world many times over. There would be no need for anything like Yucca mountain.

Comments are closed.